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The NFL Has Banned Tailgating at This Year's Super Bowl

December 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM | by | Comments (0)

Those of you who are considering pulling the trigger on Super Bowl tickets might want to take a step back for a moment and weigh some new information: Earlier this week, the NFL announced that it would not allow tailgating at this year's Super Bowl at Metlife Stadium in the Meadowlands. That's right. It's the first cold-weather outdoor championship game and fans won't even be able to heat their hands over a hot grill.

The statement from the game's CEO, Al Kelly, is almost hard to believe:

“You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in your car. And provided you’re in the boundaries of a single parking space, you’ll be able to eat or drink right next to your car. However, you’re not going to be able take out a lounge chair, you’re not going to be able to take out a grill, and you’re not going to be able to take up more than one parking space. And it’ll all be watched very carefully.”

Apparently, a lack of parking and an intense focus on security are the main issues at play here. Although 80,000 fans will attend the game, there will be fewer than 13,000 pre-sold parking spots thanks to a wide security blanket outside the stadium. But don't even think about parking elsewhere and walking to the stadium - that's not allowed, either. Fans must arrive via a car with a parking pass, via New Jersey Transit, or via one of the NFL commissioned charter buses called the "Fan Express," which will pick up and drop off passengers from nine different locations for $51 a person.

"You cannot walk to the Super Bowl," said Kelly. "You can get your hotel to drop you off at one of the New Jersey Transit locations or get the shuttle to take you to a Fan Express location, but you cannot walk."

ESPN reports that "the reduced parking capacity is a result of the large security perimeter needed for the Super Bowl," and that "fans will have to go through security screenings at the train station and again at the stadium." Limos and "black cars," the traditional method of arrival for VIPs who spend the most on tickets, will also be prohibited.

"Nobody's going to be dropped off by black car," Kelly said. "You can have a black car, a green car, a white car, a red car as long as you have parking, and the car needs to stay on the premises the entire time."

We don't mind extra security that's aimed at keeping us safe, but there comes a point when it changes the atmosphere and the experience. These are not $5 tickets. People are going to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to attend what is supposed to be the NFL's shining moment, and we're afraid this year's game might be more akin to a cattle call than a celebration.

Eyebrows have already been raised about the decision to have the game in a cold-weather environment, and now when you take tailgating out of the equation and start over-regulating how people can arrive at the stadium, the tradition changes from one of camaraderie between fans, cold beer, and cornhole to a very expensive day of navigating a web of logistics, rules, and regulations.

We doubt the Super Bowl will see much negative financial impact (if anything, they'll make more off the deal by moving the party inside the stadium), but we wonder how it might effect the clientele in the future if these changes carry over to future seasons. The NFL is sort of burning the candle at either end by discouraging both VIPs and the common man with the new arrival and tailgating restrictions.

[Photo: AP]

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